Friday, May 14, 2010

Art Fest at Baker Center: Making Time for Art

On May 11, 2010, Ohio University's University Program Council (UPC) hosted an event that allowed Ohio University students to showcase their artwork, but to very little response.

Art Fest, as described on the UPC event page, was "an opportunity to showcase your work!" and was listed among "Film & Culture" events by the UPC, which are events they say, "cater to diverse populations." However, on their busy Tuesday between classes, not many among the "diverse population" of students seemed to want to make time for the event.

The event's Facebook page had only 141 confirmed guests, and one post from musician Emily Dale who made a quick plug for herself, saying, "I'll be playing from 12:30-1:30 :) Hope you can make it!!!!"

It was her soaring soprano that I heard as I entered Baker that day. I looked around, having expected random displays of art to be scattered around Baker Center from the Facebook event's description telling me it would "take place throughout all of Baker Center," but I was surprised to find nothing at first. I made my way down the escalators, past the windows in front of which Miss Dale was performing on the third floor and finally found the art tucked in a corner on the second floor of Baker Center just outside the gallery.

There, I talked to Ashley Laber, a member of UPC who told me a bit about Art Fest.

"It's basically just a free art show," Laber said. "It's mostly student work, but we have a table full of professors' work. Basically, we just wanted to showcase the work that people are doing on campus and provide it for the community."

The event, she said, was working with Ohio University's International Week, which saw Baker Center covered in flags from all over the world that day.

In addition to the art, Laber added that they had free food and two different artists who were to perform on the floor above the display.

With food and an open call to display art, I found it surprising that there seemed to be so few pieces of art on display and so few people checking them out. Laber mentioned that UPC had "about 40 works of art from between 5 and 7 artists" on display.

Perhaps it was that they were tucked away in the corner and that the event didn't receive much promotion that kept students walking by rather than browsing the art.

"We have a lot of people just coming and going," said Laber, who also noted that the UPC display was bringing more traffic to the small gallery on the second floor of Baker than it usually sees.

Perhaps the gallery is just intimidating; perhaps art is intimidating.

Laber mentioned that some of the most traffic the display got was from students who were visiting as a part of their art classes.

Must we be obligated and pushed to take a step away from our lives to appreciate art?

For this blog, I made a point to seek out art in the community, and I found it was - often - not something that fit readily into my schedule, but that - in the end - was worth it to discover.


Veronica Norton said...

Interesting post! I agree that UPC didn't really do much to advertise this event! I basically live in Baker center and I didn't even know about this! It's too bad thought because I would have really liked to see this! Boo to UPC

Matt Schuldt said...

Cassie, I liked the post; it was very interesting! I agree too that they didn't really advertise this much. The first I heard of it was from my Review and Criticism teacher, and that was when it was already over. We ended up reviewing the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt that was displayed in Baker last week. I don't know if you saw it, but it was really interesting.